There’s a fine line between amazingly effective advertising and marketing and super-creepy advertising and marketing. Somewhere in between, there are election campaigns, opinion polls, and research. Closer to the creepy end of the spectrum, there are robot dialing machines that call you – and hang up when you answer.
Candidates and corporations are taking “imposition” to a whole new level and bringing their A-games. I’ve just stopped answering my phone. Leave a message; I’ll call you back. Maybe. I need an industrial shredder just to keep up with the unwanted snail mail, but that’s another story for another time. I think of all the wasted time and money, then marvel at the realization that it must work – or surely they wouldn’t do it. I weep for those it works on. And I kind of want to ban them from using electronics for a year – for all our sakes.
And I’m keeping track of companies having questionable ethics and rudely aggressive advertising tactics. I won’t be buying what they’re selling.
Caller ID Spoofing
Anyone who remembers the movie “When a Stranger Calls” will understand why I woke up in a cold sweat the day Caller ID showed a phone call coming from my own phone number – on my land line. And how do you report your own phone number for spam? Caller ID Spoofing is of dubious legality. But how do you prove it’s done with “intent to defraud” and how do you report it? It simply renders Caller ID useless. It also means that someone could carelessly, randomly, or maliciously “spoof” your number, resulting in you being blacklisted on any number of “Report Spam Calls” sites on the Internet.
Doubt it? How’s this for an example?
I don’t know if Frank Hartmut (or Hartmut Frank) of Fremont, CA is a spammer or if he’s even a real person. What I do know is that, as reported by another person on the White Pages app, this is a number that sends me valid (and expected) WordPress verification codes via text messages. So for me, it’s not spam and it’s not fraud – well, not exactly. Why is WordPress using a number listed as belonging to “Hartmut Frank”? Notice that others’ experiences with this same number are different. And this number may belong to some innocent person in Fremont who has never heard of the White Pages app and doesn’t know that it could be automatically blocking their calls – even to friends.
Three years ago, the FTC awarded $50,000 to be split evenly between computer engineer Serdar Danis and freelance software developer Aaron Foss for “Best Overall Solution” to the illegal robocall problem. Two Google engineers, Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson, won the large organization award (a non-monetary, or “bragging rights,” award). So where are these solutions? I’m getting about seven calls a day on each line – both the land line and the mobile phone.
“Punishable by death” might be a bit harsh. I need more coffee. My kinder, gentler nature is losing the battle, today. Email spoofing should also be illegal; that’s been giving good users a bad name since the early 1990s, at least.
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